June 10, 1964, was a dramatic day in the United States Senate. For the first time in its history, cloture was invoked on a civil rights bill, ending a record-breaking filibuster by Democrats that had consumed fifty-seven working days. The hero of the hour was minority leader Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen (R-Ill.).
On this day in 1964, Everett Dirksen (R-IL), the Republican Leader in the U.S. Senate, condemned the Democrats’ 57-day filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Leading the Democrats in their opposition to civil rights for African-Americans was Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV). Byrd, who got into politics as a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan, spoke against the bill for fourteen straight hours. Democrats still call Robert Byrd “the conscience of the Senate.”
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In his speech, Senator Dirksen called on the Democrats to end their filibuster and accept racial equality.
Michael Zak wrote about this in his book Back to Basics for the Republican Party and reminds us that Democrats, the party of Slavery, Secession, Segregation and the KKK… fought against equality.